Older blog entries for sjmurdoch (starting at number 5)

Technically speaking I am now on holiday, I say technically as I am still working at a similar rate to when I was not on holiday, well perhaps a little less - that's why I have time to post a diary entry.

I still have quite a few things to do, mainly my team project discertation and studying for exams. Apart from that I'm sorting out things for my birthday on April 3rd and making enquiries about accomodation for my work placement in London this summer (I'll be working for Reuters).

Better get back to work, hopefully my next diary entry will be more prompt than this one.

If anyone is interested I have put my holiday photos on the web. Fell free to have a browse.

Website still isn't done yet, Linux 2.4.0 beat me to it. sigh

Over the summer holidays I started working on cracking a few of the codes that are part of the Cipher Challenge. As practice for my C programming I wrote programs to solve all of the codes, even stages 1 & 2, which were fairly trivial. Stage 4 (a Vigenère cipher for those who are in the know) was the first challenging one.

The good news is I have completed my program for solving Vigenère ciphers and have cracked the code. As with my code for stages 1 & 2, this program is licensed under the GPL. If anyone would like a copy please email me and I'll be glad to send it to you. Speaking of this I hope to be putting the programs on my website at some point, but like the 2.4 Kernel I couldn't put a date on it.

The last few days have been quite busy - lots of catching up on little things. After a bit of crawling about in the loft, coax in hand, I now have Sky One in my bedroom/workshop so I'll be able to watch Simpsons while at the computer. If only the VNC server for Win32 was more reliable then I wouldn't have to switch rooms to use my other PC (it's far faster than my normal PC but unfortunately it runs Win98; even so, it's better for some programs that are heavy on the CPU)

I still haven't added the source of my projects to my website but I aim to do so "real soon now"

As for University assignments I've completed the parser/interpreter, however I used an implicit stack by using recursion, but I have been told that I must use an explicit stack - oh well back to the drawinq board.

I redid my CV to apply for summer placements and had an interview with the careers advisior. It seems I'd be better going to London as I would get more valuable experience working. I was there on holiday and found it to be OK, but perhaps a bit too busy. Althouqh I have spoken to several people who loved their time there. Even if it isn't the place for me it's only for 3 months and should be well worth the experience. Only one more week till the end of term (whoo hoo!), unfortunately that means one more week till I've to hand in the assignments (doh!).

2 Dec 2000 (updated 2 Dec 2000 at 14:17 UTC) »

It's the weekend now but I have a awful feeling that I won't have all much time to enjoy it. I'm well behind schedule on the parser/interpreter, so I think a late night hacking session beckons - caffeine and MP3s at the ready :-)
I'm now certified at 'Apprentice' (thanks voltron, alisdair, pjones and sh).

The talk by Stephen Tweedie was very good, he was an excellent speaker and was able to pitch the technical level well, so that everyone was kept interested - quite an achievement considering the diverse skill level of the audience. He also offered an interesting avenue of investigation on why my MP3 jukebox doesn't play properly - perhaps it is the lack of DMA and not the lack of CPU power (it's a P60).

I had my first look at the database that I'll be writing the front end to, so if I get the chance I'll try out some JDBC on my PostgreSQL database, and experiment with some XML tools. All I need now is SSH access to the Oracle database in University and I'll be happy.
At the moment I don't think there's much chance of having the project open sourced, but I'm looking for reasons, like GPLd killer applications/libraries I could use etc... The main personal reason I have is that I don't want the project to die after I stop work on it. I've seen several projects on the web which are very promising, but still have a few rough edges. The developers have done an enormous amount of excellent work creating the project but no one will use it as it still has some annoying bugs. If it were open sourced then these would soon be sorted and the application would become a useful tool.
I believe that query tool I am writing could be of use to many people if it were in a finished state, but probably at the end of the project it will still need work. In my opinion the best way of getting this last hurdle overcome is to open source it.

I think that's enough for today... time for work; where are those Penguin Mints.

Lets find out out how this diary thing works then :-)
At the moment I'm working on several University assignments (a simple Postscript renderer, a simple parser/interpreter, an LZW implementation, a little concurrent programming and a group exercise about project management. The one that I'll be spending the most time one is a long term (till April 2001) team project.

My project involves creating a graphical front end to a database using XML, Java, Swing and JDBC. The intended audience is familiar with handling data (normally in the form of a spreadsheet) but are probably unfamiliar with relational databases and certainly have not used SQL. Once the user has performed the required selections, joins and grouping (though if the software is well designed the user should not realise they have done so), the program will export the data to a data mining tool of their choice.
More on this later...

I've certified a couple of Open Source developers whose projects I've worked with, but no doubt I've missed a few so I'll check again soon. I also had a first go at my profile.

I think this is enough for the moment, I'm off for a talk by Stephen Tweedie from Redhat, hosted by the Scottish Linux Users Group on "Linux: State of the Art". Should be interesting.

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